SAN DIEGO — In the center of San Diego, tucked in the heart of Mid-City, sits a middle school where 69% of its students consider themselves homeless, the most of any school in the San Diego Unified School District. A few blocks away in City Heights is an elementary school that has 231 homeless students. Less than a mile from both schools is a high school which has 385 children who say they have no permanent residence.
Amid the talks of homeless encampment bans, enforcement and shelter space, is a rising number of homeless students at San Diego city schools.
"For most San Diegans, when they think of homelessness, they think of the adult pushing a shopping cart, or the person on the street corner. They think of somebody who's mentally ill running around the streets. They don't think of a child who doesn't have a place to stay," said Walter Phillips, CEO of San Diego Youth Services. "They don't know so their mind can't go there."
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